Common wisdom says that an engine running in overdrive for an extended period of time will overheat and break down. People driving themselves too fast and hard risk breakdowns or health problems.
David Sprott recently posted an interesting piece on the need to slow down the blistering pace of IT projects. He takes a page from Carl Honoré, who advocates a "slow movement," which says perhaps some things can get done better at a more deliberate pace.
David ponders whether the blazing-fast pace of unfettered offshoring, agile development adopted purely for speed is compromising architectural principles in favor of short-term gains. Has the time come for Slow IT?
In a post late last year, Ron Tolido coined the phrase "Slow IT, the art of careful technology," noting that perhaps there is a backlash brewing to the hectic, real-time emphasis on get-it-now IT:
"It is about using the principles of Enterprise Architecture to create a platform for continuous business change. This is not a paradox: only on top of a simplified, secure and flexible foundation of building blocks we can orchestrate and change solutions on a daily basis. On-the-fly processes, instant collaboration, mashups and real-time intelligence: we definitely need them to deal with the hectic business requirements of today and tomorrow. But not in a breathless, ADHD style that quickly will only agitate us more. Instead we need the confidence that we took exactly the right time and dedicated exactly the right focus to create a true architecture for change."
With Slow IT, Ron foresees "a renewed respect for properly timed and crafted technology solutions." Plan things out well, and let the fast-paced stuff move in and out as required.
Hence the fact that we need enterprise architecture to provide a way for organizations to catch their collective breaths and think about what technology needs to be implemented, and how it will serve the business. And SOA itself is such a long-term, deliberative process.
As David puts it: "I am completely with Ron in rejecting the superficial - Web 2.0, panic package acquisitions and the like for use in serious enterprise business processes. Yes we need to transition enterprise systems to modern componentized architecture that permits continuous upgrade of smaller moving parts."
Ron Tolido just wrote a follow-up piece endorsing David's thoughts. He also clarifies that Slow IT doesn't necessarily mean "doing things at a snail’s pace, doing less or doing nothing at all. Remember: it is all about proper timing and focus. Eating Slow Food does not mean waiting for hours until the waiter arrives or the first course is served."
He repeats David Sprott's mantra of injecting "repeatable, reusable and rapid" solutions into IT operations. In other words, "carefully craft a foundation for continuous change."